Web crawlers — also known as “crawlers,” “bots,” “web robots,” or “web spiders” — are automated programs that methodically browse the web for the sole purpose of indexing web pages and the content they contain.
Web crawlers — also known as “crawlers,” “bots,” “web robots,” or “web spiders” — are automated programs that methodically browse the web for the sole purpose of indexing web pages and the content they contain. Search engines use bots to crawl new and updated web pages for information to add to their index so that when individuals search for a particular query, the most relevant information can be easily accessed and served.
Google is most known for its web crawler Googlebot, but there is also an array of other site-specific web crawlers. By understanding the different types of crawlers, you can better adhere to them. Examples of other site-specific web crawlers include:
Crawlers seek out information that is put on the World Wide Web. The internet changes daily, and web crawlers follow certain protocols, policies and algorithms to make choices on which pages to crawl, as well as which order to crawl them in. The crawler analyzes content and categorizes it into an index in order to easily retrieve that information for user-specific queries.
Relevant information is determined by algorithms specific to the crawlers, but typically include factors like the accuracy, rate, and location of keywords. Although the exact mapping of how this works is specific to the algorithms used by proprietary bots, the process typically follows as such:
While many think that when you publish a post on a website it will automatically be displayed to everyone searching for it through Google or Bing, this is not the case. First, your web page needs to be indexed. In order for a web page to be indexed, it must first be crawled. Getting crawled is a necessity because it — and a number of search engine-specific algorithms — determines whether or not your website will get indexed.
Web crawling is often misconstrued with web scraping. Web scraping differs from web crawling by the way that it extracts and replicates specific information from anywhere that data exists (i.e content, pricing) while web crawling scans pages for indexing. Crawling is typically done on a larger scale while scraping is less intricate. Web scraping is commonly associated with black hat SEO techniques, though it shouldn’t necessarily be; web scraping can and is used in a number of white hat SEO strategies and by data scientists.
In most cases, the process of getting indexed is inevitable. However, there are ways that you can improve your site’s visibility in the index:
There are some cases where bots will crawl a website but ultimately will not index it. Follow these steps to check whether your webpage is indexed or not:
Why Google has decided not to index a web page is typically a simple and quick fix. Some reasons why your website is not being indexed could include:
The best way to get a good glimpse of factors that are affecting crawlability and indexability is by taking advantage of site auditing services. Site audits build the foundation for the success of a webpage by analyzing potential factors that may be holding your website from its full potential.